AST 221: Stars & Planets

Fall 2017, Marten van Kerkwijk

Course Syllabus

Time: MWF12 (MW lectures and F tutorial, typically), starting Sep 11
Place: Cody Hall (AB 107; AB is the Astronomy Building)

Note: the tutorials form an important part, being not just help sessions, but another form of lecture. During the tutorials, we discuss specific issues typically not covered (well) by the textbook, where we can apply what we have learned. The issues discussed are flexible (I am open to suggestions), and the format is intended to be as interactive as possible.

Prof. Marten van Kerkwijk
Office: MP 1203B
Office hour: M, F after class, in AB 107, or by appointment.
Email: [Answers can be expected by the next class, i.e., within one or two working days; hence, do not e-mail about problem sets the day before they are due!]

Ryan Cloutier, MP 1203A, (PS I, V; exams)
Sasha Kostenko, MP 1318, (PS II, III, IV; exams)
Office hour: W 10:30-11:30, AB 101H (starting Sep 20), or by appointment.

Course Description
This is a required course in all Astronomy & Astrophysics programs. In it, physical concepts and mathematical tools developed in first-year courses (see prerequisites) are used to gain an understanding of stars and planets. Issues covered include the structure of stars and planets, their formation, stellar evolution, and stellar corpses.

Course Textbook
An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, 2nd edition, by B. W. Carroll & D. A. Ostlie (Addison-Wesley, 2006)
This book is rather expensive. However, it will be used as a textbook for this course and for AST222 (partly), as well as for AST320.

Course Website
Lecture notes, reading assignments and problem sets will be posted there.

Problem sets (35%)
Oral Presentation (10%)
Term Test (20%, or 0% if made worse than final)
Final examination (35%, or 55% if made better than term test)

There will be five problem sets due at the start of class on Fridays as specified in the Calendar (pdf will be posted there too). Grades for sets handed in late by will be reduced by one third per working day. You are encouraged to discuss the problem sets with each other but should otherwise work individually.

There will be student presentations in the second half of the term. These will be about 10 minutes long (half presentation, half discussions/questions) by each group of two students, on an approved topic (see suggestions). You can start forming your own team and inform me of your choice of topic starting from Oct. 11th, but no later than Oct. 23rd. If you decide to drop the course (the mid-term grades will be posted Nov. 3rd), please inform your partner in time.

The mid-term will be an in-class, open-book exam of 1 hour duration and the final exam will be a closed-book exam of 3 hours duration (only calculator allowed).

A student who is unable to write the term test because of illness, will be allowed to take a make-up test (likely as an oral exam) provided s/he notifies me within one week after the test was written. See Faculty of Arts & Science Calendar, rules & regulations, for the procedure and required documentation.

Prerequisites: PHY 132H1/152H1, MAT 136H1/137Y1/157Y1
Exclusions: AST 101H1, AST 201H1